Interesting Lives Ystradgynlais

The History and Heritage of Ystradgynlais

Finding a title for this section was not as easy as one would imagine. With the amount of people buried within the three cemeteries, it was inevitable that many would stand out as having played a role in shaping the history of the district.

What rights have I to choose a 'Famous Person', a 'Person of Note' or even 'Remarkable Lives' when they are all equal in their own achievements? When entering their obituary, the writer actually exposes just what an interesting life he/she actually led. And there was my title 'INTERESTING LIVES'.

Aware that the list can not include everyone, I apologize unreservedly for anyone that has not been included within these records. No offence of omission was intentional or deliberate.

Val Trevallion

The history and heritage of Ystradgynlais is put online by Swansea Valley researcher Val Trevallion and Wolfian Design. All copyright remains with the original copyright holder, and all original research is copyright Val Trevallion, YEARGroup.

You can contact Ystradgynlais History by emailing: or Val Trevallion by emailing


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History of Ystradgynlais


Lynne Bretonn from Ystradgynlais was an actress and playwrite, and as this 1947 newspaper article explains, after the war she headed across the Atlantic to the United States of America to try and break through there.


These two articles are from the Llais newspaper, recording two occasions in the history of the Macho family of Abercrave. In later life, Leandro, by then a Headmaster, would recount how his family were heading up the Swansea valley, just what they could carry, utensils etc hanging down the side of their cart, when they came upon some people needing manpower near the Rheolau, and meeting this need chose to settle in Abercrave, seeing it as a sign. They would go on to attend St. David's Church, Abercrave, believing that it was the same God, held in the same reverence, whether Catholic or Anglican.


In this article from the Llais Mrs Elizabeth Richards recalls aspects of her long life. Aged 90, she was assumed to be the eldest resident in the district in 1954.

Ystradgynlais Interesting Lives

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The 'Interesting Lives' article on Mr John Miller started with his funeral which took place at St Cynog's Churchyard in 1933. As I am in the process of compiling a list of Ystalyfera inhabitants who have been buried in St. Cynog's, I would not normally have taken much notice of this gentleman, except for the caption which headed his obituary: THE OLDEST SOLDIER IN YSTRADGYNLAIS


From the Summer 1949 quarterly issue of Y Gurnosydd came an article on D H Rowlands, a musician of note from the local area.


W.J. Thomas passed away in March 1946 at the age of 83 and in his obituary it stated "For nearly 45 years, Mr Thomas had been headmaster, first of the old Oddfellows street School, and later of the new Cynlais School". Logically, this would place him before the others in the list, even though he was not the first to pass away.